News


Settlement reached in claims against Pleasanton school district

2 employees awarded $245,000 each stemming from Walnut Grove allegations

Administrators of the joint powers authority that provides liability coverage to Pleasanton Unified School District have reached settlements in two claims filed by district employees alleging sexual harassment and a hostile work environment at the hands of former Walnut Grove Elementary principal Jon Vranesh, district officials announced Wednesday.

The settlements came after a formal mediation session with retired Alameda County Superior Court Judge Bonnie Sabraw.

"Our district seeks to ensure that each of its schools and offices are workplaces where employees are treated with respect and dignity," Pleasanton schools superintendent Parvin Ahmadi said in a written statement Wednesday.

"Since the time the actions described in these claims were brought to our attention, we have taken deliberate steps to ensure that Walnut Grove Elementary is the kind of workplace we expect all our facilities to be," she added.

Vranesh, who has publicly denied such allegations, was placed on administrative leave on Oct. 25, 2013. His contract for an administrator's position was not renewed by the district for the 2014-15 school year.

The joint powers authority, a risk-sharing program providing property and liability coverage for regional school districts and education agencies, will pay each of the two employees $245,000, according to Pleasanton district officials. The funds will not come from the district budget and will not impact revenue or operations, according to the district.

Both employees, whose names were not disclosed, have agreed to release the district from future claims, district officials said.

According to Ahmadi's statement, the claims by these employees describe an alleged pattern of behavior by Vranesh that included the use of derogatory, vulgar and sexual terms to refer to female employees, discussing inappropriate subjects with employees and making statements perceived as threats to the safety or job security of employees.

Attorney Paul Kondrick, who represents Vranesh, said Wednesday that he was unaware any claims had been filed by school employees against the district regarding alleged actions by his client. Kondrick added that he spoke with the district's attorney, Kim Kingsley Bogard, in November and was informed no claims were filed at that time.

All claims filed against the district go through evaluation and investigations. "Administrators of the joint powers authority reviewed evidence in this case, concluded the allegations in the claims had been substantiated and advised that the claims should be settled without delay," Ahmadi stated.

Further details about the employees' claims were not available by press time. Updates will be made to this story.

Vranesh himself has filed a claim against the school district, alleging district officials defamed him and violated his right to privacy during PUSD'S handling of the allegations against him.

The Pleasanton school board named Jan Steed as Vranesh's permanent replacement as Walnut Grove principal on May 13.

Comments

Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2014 at 5:52 pm

I have never seen a government agency settle out of court, and also essentially admit to the claims in the lawsuit. I'm referring to the quote of by superintendent Parvin Ahmadi stating the lawsuit "claims had been substantiated."

I don't know the facts of the case, but I do know you don't admit fault if you're settling out of court. Now her statement could potentially be used agianst the district in future proceedings by some lawyer for a different case. Sounds like the district is being run by amateurs instead of professional executives.


Posted by and let it begin! , a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Jul 9, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Let the comment war sure to follow this post commence!


Posted by A Neighbor, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Vranesh's attorney was unaware there were claims filed, and, by extension, unaware there was a settlement? Sounds like JT's side of the story was not presented at the mediation. How can that be? Mediation requires two or more opposing parties, does it not?


Posted by A Neighbor, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2014 at 6:49 pm

* Sorry. JV's side.....


Posted by No Facts, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 9, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Were there any audio recordings? NO! Surveillance? NO! This whole situation is just teachers and administrators accusing each other of saying things... We will never know who said or did what, so just fire everyone involved!! I am sick of this childish "she did this..." and "he did that..."


Posted by curious, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Maybe this is a strategy to admit the teachers were harassed so that Vranesh's claims against the district are diminished.


Posted by HA, a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 9, 2014 at 11:21 pm

Thank God he is out. Cheers


Posted by Christine, a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 9, 2014 at 11:22 pm

Ahmadi states that the district "seeks to ensure that it's schools and offices are workplaces where employees are treated with respect and dignity" and that "deliberate steps were taken to ensure that Walnut Grove is the workplace we expect all our facilities to be."

Well, well. Isn't that lovely? So apparently, all one has to do is lie, throw innocent people under the bus to add credibility to the lie, cry crocodile tears and sit back and wait for the insurance policy to pay out. Brilliant.

As far as treating employees with respect, pardon me while I laugh. There are at least two employees at Walnut Grove who were falsely accused, went before the Board to prove it and then were treated so poorly afterward they were driven out. I believe that's illegal. But hey, no problem. I hope Teacher A and the other certificated staff member who is not a teacher, enjoy their reward.

This is far from over. I will wait patiently to see how it continues to unfold.


Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2014 at 11:49 pm

Curious,

That's a good point. That would make the most sense as the principal who has the lawsuit probably has much more lifetime earning potential and therefore could potentially "win" more money in a lawsuit.


Posted by Purge Time, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2014 at 8:30 am

The main learning from this clown convention is that the incompetent Superintendent and her minions have to go. If it takes removal of the school board to make that happen, so be it. Any incumbents on the board that are running for re-election, that still support the Superintendent, most assuredly should be voted out.


Posted by Roy, a resident of Country Fair
on Jul 10, 2014 at 9:34 am

I always see these settlements stating The funds will not come from the district budget and will not impact revenue or operations, according to the district. Are there no premiums paid for this insurance? IS there any relationship to claims and future premiums? A decision was made as to giult without interviewing the accused?

I agree at the next election vote out the current Board and start over.

This has sounded like a lynching from the beginning


Posted by Brian, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2014 at 9:36 am

It's gotta be rough to be a union employee at a public school. You just have to sit around and do nothing. Then, when you get yelled at by your boss for not doing your job, you can sue the school for creating a hostile work environment and get a nice big fat bonus. Don't have to work or do anything useful and get huge bonuses. This is better than being the CEO of Yahoo! Where do I apply?


Posted by To Brian, a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Jul 10, 2014 at 9:46 am

I find your comments completely ridiculous. Have you not seen previous posts about Mr. Vranesh? Teachers stood up for him and said that their experiences under his leadership were some of the best they have ever seen.

Do not loop all of the union members together and claim that we all sit around - we don't. Yes there are bad teachers, but most work incredibly hard. There are bad CEOs as well, but I'm not going to judge all of them based on a few bad examples. And CEOs get paid a lot more than teachers.

Get a clue. There are more unionized teachers in support of Vranesh then there were against. He's an amazing man.


Posted by Mike Smith, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jul 10, 2014 at 10:12 am

I agree it is tough to be a Principal of a school. One cannot take any action against any staff member due to the unions. I am surprised and amazed at the School Board for throwing out a good Principal just on the words of a couple of employees and then those employees get awarded.This is the reason for our education system going down the drain.Shame on the board.


Posted by Harmony, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2014 at 11:30 am

Lots of similar-sounding posts, all from one lonely, sick individual who has nothing else to do with himself. This lonely individual has himself been rejected by society, probably many times over the course of his life. He grafts his cloying personality onto Vranesh, who was fired for good reason, and then whines about unions and administrators and teachers and just about anyone else with authority in our society. Pathetic case, that we're exposed to on a daily basis.


Posted by LP, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 10, 2014 at 12:14 pm

There are far more of us that have had the pleasure of interactIng with Mr. Vranesh through our children that support him than those that don't. As I have said before, he is hands down the best administrator we've had at PUSD over the last seventeen years. Yes, he has high expectations, but they are for the benefit if our children. His high expectations include those for his students. I can say he personally had a positive impact on my now adult child's education. He also always had high expectations of himself which was obvious with all those he interacted with.

Paying these two off is ridiculous, but litigation is expensive and our own superintendent seems to agree they should be paid off so it's safe to say the district would lose if this went through a trial. She's useless and a liability and needs to go.

I would like to know if the two employees that were cited in the investigation who then came forward to dispute thus are still with the district. If not, that's who should be suing.

Good luck Mr. Vranesh. I hope we will see updates when you undoubtably land on your feet with a district more deserving of you than PUSD.


Posted by #Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jul 10, 2014 at 12:18 pm

How much MONEY involved? Who got what?

gotta admit i still don't quite understand what happened to whom?

i would luv to share a % of the settlement...just to friends...i'd be very polite and say thank you


Posted by Christine, a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 10, 2014 at 1:39 pm

LP - The two district employees you are referring to... Mary Snell and Linda Pipe, I believe. They are the two who were included in the investigation as participating in acts of retaliation towards Teachers A and B. Ms. Snell worked at Walnut Grove for many years and was treated so poorly as a result of coming forward, she left Walnut Grove. She now works at another school site in the district. Ms. Pipe is still with the district in her position as a high school registrar.

To hear that Ms. Ahmadi says employees are treated with dignity and respect is laughable. She is the queen of hypocrisy. Those who lied and threatened others were rewarded while those who stood up to the lies and defended themselves were punished and bullied out of the workplace Ahmadi claims to protect. And to think our children are exposed to these double standards on a daily basis. Bravo.

The Board and Superintendent are cowards who rely on each other in a twisted, symbiotic way. Valerie Akin is the only one who has the courage to ask hard questions and vote her conscience.


Posted by Apple, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 10, 2014 at 2:51 pm

OMG so employees who made false allegations about Vranesh and MANY OTHER STAFF MEMBERS - not limited to Mary Snell and Linda Pipe - were rewarded with 250 thousand dollars? I guess it's time for the other people targeted by the two to seek compensation from the district!

People on these boards kept saying there were many "victims" of JV why did only two get paid for their hurt feelings?

I hope the special meeting tomorrow is to fire the superintendent. We need some new leadership now.




Posted by Brian, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm

To: To Brian

When I say union employee, I don't necessarily mean teachers. The custodians (janitors) are also union employees.

I know Mr Vranesh was unhappy with the job at least one custodian was doing at Walnut Grove. I understand he was concerned that the bathrooms were so dirty that it was creating a health issue for the children. I believe this custodian was even caught leaving her job early and reprimanded by Mr Vranesh. I'm pretty sure this same custodian later filed a complaint about Mr Vranesh. I'm also pretty sure this custodian is the daughter of the union chapter president. I don't know if this custodian had anything to do with the accusations made against Mr Vranesh that led to his removal. I also don't know if this custodian was one of the parties that was awarded $245,000. Maybe it's all just coincidence. However, if this janitor was just awarded $245,000, all I can say is sign me up. I'd love to get $245,000 + salary and benefits and not even have to do a good job cleaning the bathrooms.


Posted by Apple, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 10, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Harmoney Vranesh has not been fired unless you have some insider info you care to share?


Posted by HA, a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 10, 2014 at 5:09 pm

LP,He didn't do anything for my kids,what is it that was so special for your kids? Women are accusing men of sexual harassment in every business around. The women receive easy money and the men are fired.In 1987 teachers were doing drugs and sleeping with students. The good old pleasanton days.


Posted by Disgusted, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jul 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm

What a joke,(portion removed because it made unverified claims). What the heck has out district come to. We have a bunch of moronic people running this district. "The settlements came after a formal mediation session with retired Alameda County Superior Court Judge Bonnie Sabraw." Who was involved in the mediation? Teacher A and B and who else? Obviously it wasn't Mr Vranesh as his attorney had no clue this was happening. Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought a mediation occurred between all parties involved and then a decision is made? Seems to me this is the districts way of trying to downplay JV's lawsuit against them, too bad that won't do the trick. I am so glad my kids are almost out of school in this district because PUSD is horrible


Posted by Disgusted2, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 10, 2014 at 6:59 pm

When will we be able to overthrow these school board member tyrants?! I agree with other posters in that Valerie Arkin is the only descent member... I am frustrated that the school board meeting will not be taped!!! We as a community deserve the right to know what is discussed at the board meetings!!!


Posted by highdiver, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2014 at 7:26 pm

So, almost a half million dollars was spent to settle a claim against the school district, with no trial, no chance for the Principal accused to defend against the charges, such is democracy i guess. Or, just cheaper to pay off accusers than go to a legal proceeding where everyone involved gets a chance to tell their side of the story. A wonder if a slow moving vehicle was part of the process, lol. The settlement means the insurance company agrees the Principal was at fault without ever hearing from him.

Also, I wonder what the premium is for the insurance for this type of event is, and wonder will it go up next year.


Posted by John, a resident of Mission Park
on Jul 10, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Brian, you can fill out an employment application for a Custodian position at the PUSD office. Just go to the receptionist's desk and they'll be glad to help you. I doubt, however, that you could do a custodians job for 2 hours, so a career as one is out.


Posted by Lessismore, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jul 10, 2014 at 10:52 pm

One more time the PUSD school board is kissing the A** of the unions.
Some of them must need money for the next election


Posted by Jtjh, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 11, 2014 at 8:30 am

Jtjh is a registered user.

Pro_Law wrote:

>> I do know you don't admit fault if you're settling out of court. Now her statement could potentially be used against the district in future proceedings <<

But the superintendent didn't actually admit liability, did she? In her statement she said (perhaps very carefully) that the "administrators of the joint powers authority" had concluded the allegations in the claims had been substantiated and advised payment.

It seems that the JPA in question is EBSIG (East Bay Schools Insurance Group) term. Web Link

I found its Organizational Chart interesting.


Unless an outsider has stepped up to fund payment of the claims, the money has to come from somewhere. Like an earlier poster, I would be surprised if PUSD were able to avoid any financial consequences whatsoever. But perhaps each individual employed within participating districts pays a fee, there's enough in the coffers already to pay such claims and individual membership dues are simply raised when necessary.


Posted by Mary, a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 11, 2014 at 8:54 am

ProLaw, your concerns and statements concern me. I respect the district for settling out of court and even making a statement towards admission. You're clearly a lawyer who sees a missed opportunity to battle it out, rake in the money, and deny allegations no matter what the cost. Isn't it acceptable to forge forward with this type of result, which is morally correct (if true, and I believe it is) and actually costs less than the usually "I'm innocent!" fight in court that can rack up the ongoing charges?


Posted by Jtjh, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 11, 2014 at 9:15 am

Jtjh is a registered user.

Mary, It didn't seem to me that Pro-Law was objecting to the out-of-court settlement. It seemed to me that s/he was questioning the wisdom of an apparent admission of guilt, in view of the possible legal and financial impact on likely future legal actions in connection with this case.

Far from seeing a missed opportunity to rake in the money, as you allege, Pro-law seemed to me to have concerns which were almost exactly the opposite of this.


Posted by Laurie, a resident of Castlewood
on Jul 11, 2014 at 10:23 am

Holy Schmoly - so the organization that concluded that the 2 teachers/janitors/counselors (whoever) deserved a half a million dollars because claims were substantiated despite evidence that the claims were lies (Mary Snell and Linda Pope)and despite involving the accused JV's attorney didn't even know this was happening) through a mediation (thereby removing all burden of proof required in an actual trial), drumroll please: [Removed because it eludes to the fact that the settlements were paid out by a specific group, but that has not yet been verified.]

Seriously, it's time to call someone at the Alameda County District Attorney, and Dpt. of Justice to come investigate these crooks. Beyond caring what kind of guy JV is, or who said what (I am totally over caring about this guy) everyone in this town should be outraged by the blatant abuses of power the "cabinet" or "governance team" (another irony) are demonstrating on a weekly basis. And to think they run the schools, we are talking over 16,000 families. I am frankly surprised people haven't stormed the school board meetings by now.


Posted by Dear Mary, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jul 11, 2014 at 10:42 am

Dear Mary,
I think the accusers are the winners here because the District's decision to do a mediation saved the accusers the stress of going through trial and the risk of them not being able to undergo cross-examination and succesfully defend the claims. The 500,000 payout is well beyond the risk typically assumed in going to trial, so I doubt that is the motivation here. Also, a mediation sometimes involves confidentiality agreements so if you do go to trial there is the chance that whatever came up during a mediation might be inadmissable.
I think you are thinking the district saved money by going this route, but it's actually more likely about diminishing the potential claims made by JV's lawsuit and also potentially a move to cover up/bury evidence. Don't know for sure, but I think you might be oversimplyfing things. I also think this could potentially lead to these two teachers being charged with co:conspiracy if it can be proven that this mediation was indeed a cover up. If I were these ladies, I'd put that money in a special account to fund my legal expenses that are coming.


Posted by Janet, a resident of Country Fair
on Jul 11, 2014 at 11:30 am

Why aren't the accusers being identified? When will their names be made public? There are rumors about who the teachers are. I believe many parents and all staff at WG knows who exactly these accusers are. If you just scratch the surface of their backgrounds none of this behavior is surprising. Deceitful, manipulative and money loving. Maybe investigating the accusers and how they even got their jobs would be helpful to JVs case. PUSD is corrupt and hides everything from the public. All of the parties involved need to,be exposed. It is shameful.


Posted by lll, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 11, 2014 at 11:30 am

Probably a big reason for this was to prepare for the lawsuit against Varesh. If the district denied these employee claims, the Varesh' legal team would say that the charges against Varesh have no merit. So essentially the district is just digging a bigger hole. Sort of like the lawsuit against Signature Properties for the Neal school.

I have heard that the district is working on a new bond for a special election next year. They have no problem in giving out the money we already gave them for legal fees, and then asking us for more money to replenish their coffers. I would not give another cent to this current administration. That is throwing money out the window. After we get a new administration and things are back in order, then we can look at a potential bond.


Posted by here's jonny, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Jul 11, 2014 at 11:45 am

The district is trying to do damage control. They already offered JV money to settle, and he refused it. They know they screwed up big time, and this may be some sort of legal play. Regardless it sure seems wrong that this settlement was conducted in the shadows, and then paid off a couple assumed gold digger teachers that have an ax to grind with JV. The chickens will come home to roost, and the district will be liable. I agree, get the DA involved


Posted by Dr Thomas, a resident of Downtown
on Jul 11, 2014 at 11:46 am

[Removed because it is in response to another post that contain unverified information.] And we can't know who they are because they're are stacking the deck by legitimizing their claims by paying them so they can slither out of the lawsuit brought by Vranesh. I have heard of other school districts that look this fishy on the surface. They're usually twice as bad underneath. Indictments are next.


Posted by Gina Channell-Allen, president of the Pleasanton Weekly
on Jul 11, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Gina Channell-Allen is a registered user.

I removed some information from two posts because it stated that a certain group paid the settlements in this case and that has not yet been verified. I have requested the settlement documents and we will report the information when we receive it.


Posted by laurie, a resident of Castlewood
on Jul 11, 2014 at 1:26 pm

[removed]
Gina Channell-Allen,
You removed part of my post because you write that is states the settlement was paid by a certain group [removed] and that you are waiting for verification of that. Fair enough. I appreciate you monitoring these posts for accuracy.
However, what we do know is that they were part of the Joint Powers that was involved in this mediation, and for those interested, it is absolutely worth a few seconds to clink on the link above and see who is a member of this [removed] Insurance Group. To say there is a conflict of interest here is an outstanding understatement. I hope you do not remove this because this is really alarming. The member of this group is Pleasanton's Business Official - Luz Cesares. The #2 person in the District who is charged with overseeing the finances of the district, and also consequently, was a person named in the initial issue with trying to fire the janitor. Even more sinister is that this person was also in charge of the alarming issue which seems to have gone quiet in that she leased space to the Tri Valley University which the Feds just uncovered as a Visa mill and put the person in charge of it in jail. Also the same person who negotiated herself a raise last year that was the cause of a lot of posts on this blog.


Posted by Pathos, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 11, 2014 at 2:17 pm

So one of the people, Luz Cesares, named in JV's lawsuit is on the board of East Bay Schools Insurance Group who paid the accusers $245,000 each?


Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jul 11, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

This has been the most interesting thing to happen in Pleasanton for a long time. On a different but related thread, Gina Channel-Allen did a great job of posting the entirety of the goings-on in this case.

However, it seems there is MUCH more to this story than meets the eye and I'd like to know when PW will start using some of its investigatory prowess to dig out the deeper back-story?

Kudos to Laurie for giving us the scoop on the behind-the-scenes machinations. There appears to be some real conflict of interest going on at the district level that need to be brought into the light.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 11, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Laurie, I'm afraid this isn't sinister or new. This insurance group essentially is a consortium. Funds from the various members are pooled and payments below some threshold are made from the pool. It could be Cazares is not allowed to vote in cases where it is our district that wants payouts from the pooled funds, as would be the case for other districts, but I don't know. More importantly, the Business Manager has long been the representative to this group, going back as far as Buster McCurtain in my recollection. Because these are tax dollars, I would imagine how they operate, their budgets, etc. are subject to availability to the public.


Posted by Laurie, a resident of Castlewood
on Jul 11, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Thanks Kathleen for the background. I still see a giant conflict of interest, whether Cesares was allowed to " vote " on this mediation and whether there was a " vote ". It's unclear right now what role this agency and Ms. Cesares may have had in this mediation settlement, I concede that point, but what is crystal clear is that she is a standing member of this organization that had some level of knowledge and/or involvement in this mediation to state that the claims were "substantianted" (without JV or his Attorney involved?? AND is cited by Ahmadi as an authority to justify the settlement payout that PUSD is giving the 2 teachers. And to say there will be no impact on the district budget. How exactly is that possible? On the East Bay School District Insurance Website is states that the threshold Kathy Ruseger mentioned is either 25k or 50k which is quite a lot less than 248k. See web link:
Web Link
Even if there are additional insurance policies, and there probably are many, without a doubt premiums will go up.

I also found this online - contains some unusually strong statements of support of Ms. Cesares from both the CTA and CSEA Union Presidents when her raise and promotion were passed last year.Clearly another conflict of interest. Especially since Alex Sutton who is quoted here is the father of the janitor JV tried to fire. The one who also filed some type of complaint of grievance over it days before JV was removed from his Principal Post.

Since when does the CSEA President say the memberships trusts basically, the CFO of the District, and can't have anyone else in that seat? And the CTA President actually on record saying the Pleasanton Cabinet is the best in the State?

Web Link


Posted by Laurie, a resident of Castlewood
on Jul 11, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Web Link

One more noteworthy item found online. Seems there are more questions/issues/scandals/claims of illegal practices surrounding Ms. Cesares.



Posted by Fishy, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 11, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Don't believe one word coming out of the District office's lawyers or PR people.

Cesares signed the lease and staff report on September 9, 2009 for the bogus visa fraud criminal operation Web Link on District property for the illegal Tri-Valley University, and according to the Independent in its September 24, 2011, told the Board on May 2010 that to refinance the district's non-voter approved bonds for their loans (Certificates Of Participation), there would be $ 860,000 or so of net present value savings when in reality the ad hoc Bond Finance committee formed in 2011 determined that was false and that it would cost the PUSD $ 6.5 million more.


Posted by Dominick, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 11, 2014 at 10:50 pm


Unless you were in the room with the principal or whomever accused no one should "assume" you know who is guilty or innocent. To say this man is innocent but you were not there is also wrong. To say the accusers are right or wrong but you again were not there? That is what these investigations are for. So unless you were part of that investigation and have ALL of the evidence, shut your pie hole. This town has more know-it-alls who know nothing but how to be in everyone's business.


Posted by Laurie, a resident of Castlewood
on Jul 11, 2014 at 11:00 pm

It may appear I am becoming obsessive about this, but I am so surprised how easy it is to find information with a simple google search. And being a resident and parent in this District, am shocked at what I am finding. I am not a conspiracy person, but I don't think you need to be to add all this up.
I was curious about Kathleen Ruseger's comments, so I went to look up this East Bay School District Insurance Group and find out more about them and Luz Cazares's connection.
Holy Schmoly. I will provide the links below, but it goes like this.
1. 12/6/13 Meeting of the East Bay Insurance Group was held ...guess where? At PUSD headquarters and as you read through the notes, it appears Luz dominates a lot of this meeting as she is named repeatedly bringing this to motions.
2. Next meeting: 3/7/14. Guess where they meet? Pleasanton USD. Again. And again, Luz appears from the notes to be a dominant presence at this meeting.
3. Next meeting: 5/9/14. Guess where? Right, PUSD.
At this meeting they discuss their annual retreat to be held at the Napa Valley Lodge sometime in the summer. I wonder if it was before this mediation? Couldn't find that info but according to earlier minutes it was held in July of 2013.
4. The next meeting is scheduled for 10/3/14. Guess where? Yep, you guessed it.
So, it appears that Pleasanton and by extension, Ms. CFO, plays a significant role in this organization.
3/7/14 notes: file:///C:/Users/Wallace/Downloads/March%207,%202014%20-%20Minutes%20(1).pdf
5/9/14 minutes: file:///C:/Users/Wallace/Downloads/May%209,%202014%20-%20Agenda%20(1).pdf
12/6/13 minutes: file:///C:/Users/Wallace/Downloads/December%206,%202013%20-%20Minutes%20(1).pdf


Posted by Jumbo, a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Jul 11, 2014 at 11:08 pm

To Dominck:
This is so much bigger than JV and what he said/didn't say to some staff and how some teachers behaved. Agree, none of us except JV and the accusers will really know the whole story about that (and really, it's so old by now, don't you agree?) but I think it has uncovered a much bigger story that has an impact on everyone who lives in PTown.


Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2014 at 12:19 am

Mary,

You interpreted my post incorrectly. I'm not a lawyer, but I'm concerned a "good" lawyer could use the superintendent'a quote agianst the district in a (currently) hypothetical lawsuit down the road. My concern is taxpayers money being lost. I don't have an opinion on the settlement at this time.

Thanks jtjh for clarifying accurately what I was trying to get across.


Posted by Weakly, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 12, 2014 at 11:29 pm

Let's all get along and celebrate at Mercer field tomorrow.


Posted by Gertrude Magillicuty, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jul 12, 2014 at 11:30 pm

So let me get this straight.

Vranesh was accused of verbally "assaulting" these two so they get a big pay day.

PUSD does not have enough evidence to fire Vranesh so he is suing PUSD for a big pay day.

Everyone wins here but the taxpayer. Ahmadi and the rest of the PUSD cronies are gearing up for another shot at parcel tax! By any objective measure, PUSD is poorly managed. They are to cozy with the union.
The school board is just a rubber stamp for the teachers union too.


Posted by Here's Jonny , a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Jul 13, 2014 at 11:23 am

This all needs to be investigated by someone at the state or at least county level if it's not already. Who should this be submitted to? It seems very corrupt and people just can't get away with this.


Posted by Wake Up, a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2014 at 9:04 am

In California, employers are strictly liable if a high level manager sexually harasses employees. JV was a high level manager. Hmmmmm....isn't it possible that the District was paying for JV's harassing conduct? Could it be that calling female employess the c-word and b*tches is not OK in the workplace? If the reports are true, JV should lose his job AND foot the bill for all settlements. After all, isn't that the right message to teach our elementary school children (i.e., about personal responsibility and consequences for our actions). What about it JV?


Posted by Court truths, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2014 at 9:13 am

JV is the only person who has denied any wrongdoing UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY


Posted by Wake Up, a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2014 at 9:25 am

Court truths -- they call them 'scales of justice' for a reason. Weigh JV's denials (on one hand) against the reports of 5-7 separate employees, plus the findings of an independent investigator and the District itself (on the other hand). Which way does your scale tip?


Posted by Last post, a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2014 at 9:35 am

A person is innocent until proven guilty.


Posted by lll, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 14, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Wake up, you seemed to have missed the story that the "independent investigator" did not completely investigate and in fact that report included some statements by some people who have come forward and said they never said what is in the report. It is obvious the "independent investigator" was hired by somebody in the administration that wanted JV removed and told the investigator to produce a report that will say so.

This is no different than the other consultants the administration hires to do studies. The consultants are told what their outcome should be. If the consultant does not come with that outcome, they will not be hired by the district again and the district will tell other districts not to use this consultant. Our administration is not searching for the truth. They are hiring outside people to be their puppets, and then they say "even an outside consultant came to this conclusion."


Posted by Apple, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 14, 2014 at 2:52 pm

In no way shape or form was the investigator independent. The documents released through the freedom of information act show that loud and clear.

There was no judge, no jury, no court of law, and no common sense used in this whole mess. And don't forget the district offered Vranesh cash in February.

You also can't forget that other people were targeted by the few making complaints including a huge number of the schools support staff. Vranesh was not the only target.


Posted by Christine, a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 14, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Wake Up, the "independent" investigator never bothered to verify the accusations against staff members in his report. He certainly did not do his due diligence as I expect any competent investigator is required to do. All the teachers had to do was cry and point fingers. If you followed this story, you would know that two employees stepped up twice to publicly dispute the claims against them and all they asked for was an apology, not $245,000. Seems it's easier for the district to write a fat check than it is to say "I'm sorry".


Posted by Wake Up, a resident of another community
on Jul 15, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Christine -- I believe that the District DID just apologize. The apology came in the form of a settlement check to the two apparent victims. I think the apology was warranted, don't you? (i.e., if the combined reports of 7 different teachers are true and JV was really referring to women by the c-word and as b*tches).

As for the Monday-morning quarterbacking of the investigation, the investigator interviewed witnesses and found the claims corroborated. Was the investigator's report 100% airtight? I have no idea...but even if it wasn't, does that mean that you should completely ignore the claims of 7 different women all telling the same/similar stories? None of us were there. However, those with (the most) knowledge of the reports have analyzed the claims and decided that a settlement was warranted.

This entire episode is a tragedy. Let's not compound the tragedy by piling-on the apparent victims.


Posted by Apple, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 15, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Where do you come up with 7 different women? There were not 7 different women who were awarded settlements. Just 2. At my best count there were 4 complainants in the redacted reports - including one who said she had a hard time remembering things from years ago. Not one person in the reports said Vranesh called her names personally, the complainants said he called OTHER people names. In what reality do you get cash because your boss called someone else a name or asked you show up on time for a meeting?

You do realize there were many inconsistencies in the reports the women gave, right? And that two people came forward to talk about how they were lied about by two of the complainants in the statements the complaints gave to the "investigator" paid for by the district.
Here is the link to the PleasantonWeekly Story

Web Link

If you have a link to an apology to the complainants from the district in the Vranesh mess please list it here. All I can see is that an insurance company gave them a settlement.

I believe the apology Christine was referring is the one due to 2 women who came forward to express outrage at the lies told about them in the reports taken by the investigator. They asked the board publicly for an apology at a PUBLIC board meeting. (see the above link) To my knowledge the board has not apologized to them or the others that were targets of two complainants in the follow up investigator reports. Targets of the two complainants were easily identified in poorly redacted reports released by the district. Seems to me if the "investigator" was going to do a follow up report with the 2 complaints and the two complainants claim they were harassed by other staff members at the school, the very least the investigator would do is ask the other staff members their side of the story? But no that never happened in this debacle. Words of the two complainants were taken as gospel.


Posted by Here's Jonny, a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Jul 15, 2014 at 4:22 pm

Wake up is a perfect example of an individual who hasn't read the reports, or hear what Mary Snell, and others said to the cabinet. This may be a way to payoff two individuals that exist with in their own fantasy land. I still think its a strategic maneuver by the district. They may be betting that by paying out almost 500k, it may somehow weaken the upcoming suit from JV that will cost the district millions.


Posted by Christine, a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 15, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Wake Up - You are clearly missing a point I thought I made crystal clear so I'll make it again to help you out... You seem to have some knowledge of the report in question so it shouldn't be stretch for you to admit that it simply remains a fact that there are glaring holes regarding accuracy, regardless of teachers' claims. Lack of accuracy raises doubt. Having doubt raises valid questions, not Monday-morning quarterbacking. My point is that it was a fact that some accused staff members were not interviewed by by the district-hired "independent" investigator. An investigation is not an investigation until statements are verified for truth and/or accuracy and conclusions are drawn. Those staff members came forward to publicly express their concern for being falsely accused without...are you with me?...being interviewed for verification. Were the teachers the only ones allowed to be interviewed? Is it ok to trample over others without regards to their rights? I'm not compounding anything. I'm asking a question about accuracy. That's all.

And tragedy is not the word I would use. Travesty is more like it.



Posted by Another past WG parent, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 15, 2014 at 8:49 pm

I haven't take the time to read all of the comments on this blog, but I have scanned them. I did take the time to fully read all documents posted on the District website as well as the 17 page lawsuit filed by John Vranish. All I can say is I feel very badly for all involved. I don't know Mr. Vranish nor were my children there during his administration, but if he is as wonderful as his supporters state, then there is something very emotionally/psychologically wrong. The initial documents - interviews, summeries, etc. stated that Mr. Vranish believed he was removed because he had called upon the District to tend to safety issues at the school. Mr. Vranish also believed that certain teachers did not like the changes that were taking place, etc. etc. There is so much to go into detail here. The teachers interviewed stated what many have already mentioned in terms of the harassment and hostile work environment. I'm being overly brief. In reading Mr. Vranish's suit againt the District, he makes some new claims that lead me to believe this is the reason there was credibility on the teachers' behalf and settlement - Mr. Vranish states that both the Superintendent and the CFO made sexual advancements toward him and since he did not respond, there is now retaliation. He states that the District is corrupt with this kind of behavior and that advancement is predicated per sexual favors- again, I'm being brief. There was never meniton of this in his initial statements - why now? It seems that Mr. Vranish has somehow lost it and is grasping at straws. To me it looks like the acitons of a very desperate man - I am surprised his lawyers agreed to this.


Posted by Wake Up, a resident of another community
on Jul 16, 2014 at 8:56 am

The District settled based upon its evaluation of the Facts. SO, if you want to 2nd-guess the District, how about starting with the reported FACTS:

(1) The District received reports of inappropriate conduct by an
elementary school principal.

(2) The District hired an investigator and approx 13 witnesses were interviewed.

(3) Per the investigator's 86 page report and the interviews themselves, up to 7 different witnesses collectivley reported JV calling women the c-word, b*tches, making other inappropriate statements. (Link to Report: Web Link)

(4) The District decided there was merit to the allegations. (Link to District Statement:
Web Link)

(5) Apparently two employees (and the posters that support them -- Apple, Christine, Here's Johnny) have problems with parts of the investigator report, but they do not directly dispute all of JV's alleged conduct.

(6) The District paid to settle claims which it decided had "merit". (No wonder -- if the reports are true, the District is liable for JV's acts).

In sum, it appears that: (a) JV has a different (and inappropriate) persona behind closed doors; and (b) the District is trying to do the right thing to compensate for its ousted principal.


Posted by Here's Jonny , a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Jul 16, 2014 at 9:39 am

I think wake up has hit the snooze button and is still in dream land. You say "facts" on the report. It's nothing but here say as none of the allegations were witnessed bay anyone. I hope one of the recipients of the settlement are at least buying giving you a gift card for your comments


Posted by Apple, a resident of Birdland
on Jul 16, 2014 at 11:43 am

I have already addressed everyone of your "facts" in my previous posts. It seems pointless to repeat but fiction becomes "fact" when it goes undisputed.

I will ask you where you get the numbers 13 and 7? No where in the redacted reports do those numbers appear unless you are claiming to have copies of the reports that are not redacted.

I read not only the report by the investigator but the actual interviews when they were all made available because of the Weekly's FIOA requests. The complainants came across as petty and vindictive and many of their comments were completely ridiculous. And in this case it's not hearsay but their own words in black and white. They pretty much accused him of everything from being violent because he said "his hands were tied" to not having a "dynamic" personality.

I will also point out again the District themselves did not pay a settlement. The insurance company did. If I hurt myself on lawn in front of your house and sue you, your insurance company will take over the case and decide what to do with little or no input from you. That seems to be what happened in this case. That's why Parvin stated the pay off funds won't come from the PUSD coffers.

Vranesh stated at a public school board meeting in February he was offered a pay out by the district. By your own statement only innocent people or victims are offered settlements. So I guess even the district thinks Vranesh is innocent and they screwed up if they offered him a settlement?


If you need more proof the "investigation" was botched. Read this article.

The "investigator" didn't even follow up the allegations made by two of the complainants. Just simply took their word for it and wrote a second report. Obviously the second round of complaints weren't found to be credible as nothing was done.

Web Link


"Some staff members mentioned in witness statements were taken aback to learn they were part of the statements at all, since they said they had never been interviewed by Davidsen. Linda Pipe, Amador Valley High School registrar, and Mary Snell, Walnut Grove health clerk, addressed the school board March 11 to make public that they had never been interviewed."


Posted by Fraud = Jail, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2014 at 1:14 pm

It seems like this is a massive fraud that was well planned in order to collect a massive amount of money --- a half million dollars! The two statements of the two women seem to match up completely (surprise!) and none of the statements of the two women can be corroborated by anyone else.

I predict that the two of them will be arrested along with all of the co-conspirators in the district office and union headquarters.


Posted by Christine, a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 16, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Wake Up - Well, where do I begin if I want to second-guess this District? The District's been so up-front and transparent, it's hard to imagine actually questioning it's integrity.

Yes, the District received reports of misconduct.

Yes, the District hired an investigator who proved he was inept, reporting as fact unsubstantiated accusations amounting to hearsay. Last time I checked, hearsay is not proof of behavior for anyone.
Not adding up - the number of witnesses you are claiming unless you have an un-redacted report laying around at your disposal...Hmmmm? And if there were 13 people interviewed, why are only 7 (as you claim) included? What happened to the other 6? Did they not corroborate as desired by the CTA?

The District's insurance paid out, as Apple states, without input from the District or Board approval. I wouldn't call that an apology. It's a simple and common business practice. Big difference.

The two employees who had "problems with the report" and the damaging way they were portrayed has nothing to do with JV's alleged conduct. They publicly pointed out and rightfully so, that they were never interviewed, opening up the idea that perhaps other lies were told.

Regarding JV's persona behind closed doors...I seriously doubt any person who has worked in this district as long as he has without a blemish on his record or even actual charges that led to his release, has a persona that is anything other than completely professional. What might Teacher A and the other's personas be? Their agenda? That still remains to be seen when this case goes to trial. Until that happens, the merit the District claims they have determined is based on nothing but hearsay.


Posted by Formerly Dan from BC, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jul 16, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Formerly Dan from BC is a registered user.

This is all so interesting.

Was an actual crime committed?

There is an increasing number of lawsuits that are starting to be filed against a few universities around the U.S. regarding due-process. Filed mostly by male students, these lawsuits accuse the universities of failure of due process, false accusations and a whole assortment of misdeeds when the male student was accused - without fair a trial - of sexual misconduct.
Later on, it was proven that the females accusers either lied to the university or there was not enough evidence to prove the male did anything wrong in the first place.

Bottom-line: this is a case of basically he said/she said and it seems odd that any payoff would be allowed given the evidence (or lack thereof) provided.

Bottom-line II: It stinks.


Posted by John, a resident of Mission Park
on Jul 18, 2014 at 10:13 am

For Brian...I was remiss for not making it easier for you to get on the gravy train. Here is a link for a custodian job

Web Link


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jul 18, 2014 at 10:16 am

What's the point? Custodians that work get paid for their services. The salary is used to help them survive? Is that bad? John...what's your point?


Posted by John, a resident of Mission Park
on Jul 18, 2014 at 10:24 am

Cholo...there was no point other than to give Brian a link to a job he thought he wanted


Posted by Pleasanton was nice forty years ago, a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 18, 2014 at 10:24 pm

Mary and Linda are Credible the complaining teachers are not. I dont know how anyone can read the facts we have available and come to any different conclusion. But this is the country that voted in Obama not once but twice
can you say clueless. The pleasanton school district has always been weazely Here is a quote from Rich puppione when i had issues with one of my adopted children at amador " Im retiring soon and I dont want to deal with it" The concern i had was a life and death issue. Rich puppione i think you are the biggest peice of crap in the world. This is just one of the people the district tells us are a wonderfull benifit the the district. (Removed)


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Jul 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm

are you referring to the good ole days with zebulon thorne?


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